You have been working for years for this moment. You have studied for exams, written papers, and sacrificed hours of leisure time to ensure your schoolwork is complete. It’s hard to believe that it’s already time, but soon you will be submitting college applications to admissions officers, and all of those years will be condensed into a single application. It seems nearly impossible to express who you are through such restricted means, but if you avoid these five mistakes, your accomplishments will shine.
- Not giving the college context for your situation
Maybe you weren’t able to spend as much time in school clubs and activities because you’ve had to work at a part-time job to help your family financially. Maybe your grades suffered one year because you had a medical incident that took you away from your studies. If you have a reason behind gaps in your application or parts of your schooling you feel do not represent your best work, look for opportunities in the application to explain the context so admissions officers can examine your situation with a more understanding perspective.
- Being neglectful about deadlines
Each US college and university has different deadlines, and it is imperative that you keep track of all of them. Early action and early decision deadlines like application deadlines, essay deadlines, letters of recommendation deadlines, and transcript deadlines are all dates you should have marked on your calendar with set reminders. If you don’t ask your teachers for a letter of recommendation until a week before the deadline, they may not be able to get one to you. If you do not tell your guidance counselor when your transcripts need to be in, they may not send them. This is a great opportunity to practice time management skills and show these colleges that you can turn in your work on time.
- Letting mom and dad take the lead
Colleges don’t mind when a student’s family is involved, but make sure your parents aren’t calling the school twelve times a day. If there’s something within the application process that you can handle, you should be the one to do it. Colleges want to know that you’re interested and ready for this next step, not that your parents are interested and ready for you to take it. This next chapter of your life is about you.
- Misunderstanding parts of the application
It’s common for international students to misunderstand the visa questions asked on the application. Make sure that you’re having people read over your application to ensure you are understanding everything and answering their questions correctly. Seek advice from guidance counselors and teachers, and if you have any questions, it’s better to ask someone at the school than answer something incorrectly.
- Forgetting that the college looks beyond the application
The college application is extremely important, but so is your life outside of the application. Make sure you are representing to the world what you would not mind your admissions officers seeing. Use a professional email address on your application and look over your social media to make sure your posts are free of anything that could bring up red flags to the admissions committee.
After following these steps you will be glad that you took the time to research and prepare for the US college application process. It makes a huge difference for your future if you take the right steps today.